Bangkok on rails

‘The mighty view of urban rail’

The picture above is not related to the story others than a contradistinction. This is Singapore and the way it’s perfectly shaped. A housing project with road and rail though the latter at the system seen only for guiding the automatically operating vehicles. People mover is their name and that’s the only thing they have to do. Driving around with your own car in the city state is strictly regulated.
Harsh measurements but the only way to keep a place in shape. On the other hand; in the last decades the almost dictatorial government created a functional Public Transportation system so principle there’s no need to have a car. It’s the madness of people still longing for there own moving spot on four wheels and thus creating the gridlock.
Bangkok is a different situation, whereas in Singapore the awakening of shifting traffic from road to rail took place in the early eighties and they put energetic one’s shoulder to the wheel, Thailand’s capital stayed behind. It was not before 1999 the Skytrain came into service with a long struggle before.
Skytrain, the invention of the Canadian company Lavalin who started a system with that name in Vancouver. They were the first to succumb in a world of plots but above all corruption, the only way to explain why in the Big Mango fruits have to be rotten before something happens what on the isle at the equator long ago is done and only have to be refined. A sophisticated network maybe Bangkok is dreaming about for now it’s just the base. Two lines above the ground and one beneath are begging for extension. Better late than none, there’s one in the make.

Let’s talk about design and not as in many cases obstructive politics instead of constructiveness by doing what have to be done without to much personal interference in the matter. What only matters is common social welfare not a private one.
The Skytrain on many places doesn’t seem to match with the already build up area. Bangkok’s architecture and anything except a lust for the eye unless you’re obsessed with numerous styles or no approach at all. The way it is and developed though proliferation is a better word. In that perspective the city of Angles has nothing angle like at all, bric-à-brac of anything and nothing in particular. It’s a skyline of the unpredictable what will happen next.
Adventurous for the ones in search for a trill but certain crime for any anti chaotic thinking, the one who admires things straight. Well, the Skytrain structure without any doubt will be his or hers if there is any woman committed not only with here own beauty but the city as well.
The Ratchaprasong intersection, a well known fork and not only for the Skytrain, since the so called red shirts occupied the place as a demonstration ground and sealed if off. An army intervention aimed by a government clinging on power liberated the spot however not without any bloodshed. During the street battle all train services were suspended.
It’s the mighty view of huge concrete pillars in their greyness that absolutely leave no room for any other sight; it makes the city life around being dwarfed. Not the train majestically running high above street level but the structure that supports it. The Sala Daeng station in the middle of the Silom Road with hardly any span left between the structure and the other buildings, gives a fine example how the builders make the most of little space available. The struggle for every square meter here to be seen on its best. There’re more spots in the network and a fascinated encountering without the question: do I like this or not?
Instead of riding one should walk a few stations to understand the impossibilities that became possible. An eyesore perhaps but absolutely in tune with the monstrosity around it. There’re things becoming beautiful by their sheer ugliness.

1996

1998

1999

Without words

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About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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